Since moving to California in 1990, Behar has become one of the leading industrial designers of his generation, creating iconic objects for Jawbone, Herman Miller, General Electric, and Puma, among many others. The objects often have a socially progressive bent: light fixtures that promote energy conservation, say, or cheap but durable laptops that offer poor children improved access to education.
The Y Combinator offices sit at the dead center of Silicon Valley">Silicon Valley, in Mountain View, on a street called Pioneer Way. Y Combinator shares space with a company called Anybots—which makes robots that can be controlled remotely—and occasionally a droid will motor through the room on a Segway-style base.
On the one hand, computer networks are said to be disrupting centralized power of all kinds and giving it to the individual. Customers can bring corporations to their knees by tweeting complaints. A tiny organization like Wiki-leaks can alarm the great powers with nothing but encryption and net access. Young Egyptians can organize a nearly instant revolution with their mobile phones and the Internet.
I'm sitting across from a blind man — call him patient alpha — at a long table in a windowless conference room in New York. On one end of the table there's an old television and a VCR. On the other end are a couple of laptops. They're connected by wires to a pair of home-made signal processors housed in unadorned gunmetal-gray boxes, each no bigger than a loaf of bread.
Laws and Sherman might never have had occasion to be in the same room together if not for Hunter Moore, the man whose website posted photos of Laws’ daughter. Often called the King of Revenge Porn, Moore has been arrested following an FBI investigation. As he awaits his court date, those going after individuals who steal and share intimate photos are facing an increasingly unwinnable game of whack-a-mole; revenge porn is becoming less centralized, more common, and harder to trace.
Shaken by the latest digital gold rush, San Francisco struggles for its soul. Last year, when Mayor Ed Lee heard that Twitter was planning to move its headquarters out of San Francisco and down to the peninsula, he quickly consulted with his digital experts—his two daughters, Brianna, 27, and Tania, 30.
Was the company important enough to make a top priority? “Of course it’s important, Daddy!” they told him. “We tweet all the time. You have to keep them in town.”